The season of renewal and streamlining also comes with some re-evaluation—here’s how to apply a freshening-up attitude to your relationship.
Whether or not you’re in a good place with your romantic relationship, it’s always beneficial to take stock and think about the state of your union. We spoke to Toronto-based registered psychologist and relationship expert Nicole McCance to chat about all things fresh and renewal when it comes to you and your partner. “Spring brings new beginnings and fresh perspectives,” says McCance. “Every relationship can benefit from some spring cleaning.”
Spring cleaning your relationship doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in a bad place. It just means that this season—when you’re already in spring cleaning mode—is a great time to apply that freshening up ethos to your romantic partnership.
McCance recommends three steps if you want to take a closer look at your relationship—and reap the benefits of a little refresh.
1. Take stock of your relationship. Think about what is working well and what isn’t. “The first step to change, is awareness,” says McCance.
2. Commit to fix what’s broken. If you are feeling like something is wrong, or lacking, it’s time to address it. “Share your unmet needs with your partner,” says McCance. “Have those difficult conversations and you will likely feel closer to your partner afterwards.”
3. De-clutter your priorities. “Life gets busy and spring is the perfect time to take a look at your to-do list and make your relationship a high priority.”
Here, a few more tips to get started.
Who will benefit from some relationship thoughtfulness?
Pretty much anyone can benefit from taking a look at their relationship and thinking about what they want to improve, continue to do or change. According to McCance, even if you’re in a good place, you may want to rekindle some closeness. “Every year, it’s a good idea to take stock, and think about what is working well in your relationship and what isn’t,” says McCance. Some signs that your relationship might need something bigger than a little rekindling? If you feel disconnected from your partner, bored or lonely, you may want to take this refresh a little more seriously.
What are some small ways to hit the refresh button?
If you’re just looking for some quick and easy ways to spend a little more quality time with your partner, there are plenty of things you can do right away. McCance recommends doing things like showering together, text each other throughout the day to let your partner know you’re thinking about them, cuddle on the couch when taking in your favourite TV show, go to bed at the same time. Fostering more connection, both physical and digital, can really make a difference in your day-to-day appreciation of your relationship. “The small things matter in any relationship,” says McCance.
Bigger actions to take?
Anything bigger than a little tweak in your day-to-day routine, involves a bit more planning—though you don’t have to take a big vacation. “Commit to weekly date nights,” says McCance. “You can take turns planning the date and surprising each other.” Being thoughtful about the planning—or better yet, plan together—to really reap the rewards of a nice event or trip. “Be creative, it doesn’t need to cost much,” says McCance. Even just going back to spots you enjoyed at the beginning of your relationship can lead to great reminiscing.
Still not feeling that refresh?
If you feel like your partner isn’t on board, instead of leading by example with small changes, you may need to be direct. “You can be more direct, but loving,” says McCance. “Share what you are grateful for and then share your needs.” If you still feel like you’re not getting anywhere, don’t be afraid to try couples therapy. “I have seen many couples fall in love again in my office,” says McCance.